Aquaspira Ltd, has secured a six figure grant from Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation) to explore ways to help the construction sector achieve Government de-carbonisation targets.
The announcement comes as part of the UK Government’s unveiling of a multi-million pound investment to support businesses across the country pursue clean growth projects. The Sustainable Innovation Fund, delivered through Innovate UK, is a main part of the £1.25bn investment package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in April to help businesses innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aquaspira, a specialist manufacturer of large diameter drainage pipes, will invest £44,000 to supplement the £174,000 grant and is set to work in partnership with the University of Birmingham which secured a further £51,000 to deliver the project. Together they, and the UKCRIC National Buried Infrastructure Facility, will develop a lower carbon smart pipe for sustainable large-scale buried infrastructure projects.
The research has the potential to make a significant step-change in helping the construction sector achieve Government de-carbonisation targets. It will explore the use of recycled materials for storm and drainage water pipes and the backfill required for their installation, as well as incorporating innovative sensing equipment for long-term asset monitoring.
Neil Wallace, Managing Director of Aquaspira Ltd, said: “As a business we have been looking for the silver linings to the COVID cloud. At this difficult time, the grant will help our business to continue to innovate, grow and create jobs in the North West.”
“This provides an incredibly exciting opportunity for new innovation. The Government’s objective of carbon zero by 2050 cannot be achieved without a significant reduction in the use of concrete in the construction process. This grant provides an opportunity to enhance understanding of the alternatives and deliver an exemplar low-carbon solution. It’s undoubtedly a major milestone for the business and will generate significant opportunities for Aquaspira in the UK and a potential export market.”
Professor Nigel Cassidy, Professor of Geotechnical Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Birmingham, said: “Innovation is at the heart of the nation’s recovery from the COVID epidemic and we are delighted to be partnered with Aquaspira in this exciting and innovative project.”
“Not only will the research deliver low-carbon drainage solutions for the construction industry but the new monitoring technologies will be vital for the long-term assessment of climate change impacts on our built environment.”
The Innovate UK grant has been awarded by The Sustainable Innovation Fund and is part of the Government’s initiative to regenerate the economy after the impact of the COVID pandemic. The grant will significantly accelerate Aquaspira’s research and lay the foundations for the future growth of the business and employment in the area. The research will also open up future avenues for new products that will contribute to increasing the efficiency of the UK economy.
Speaking about the multi-million pound Sustainable Innovation Fund to support clean growth projects, Business Secretary Alok Sharma commented: “The UK’s response to coronavirus has demonstrated the very best of British ingenuity, and it is this resourcefulness that will help us navigate our way through this pandemic.
“Today’s investment will ensure that our innovators and risk-takers can continue to scale up their ideas, helping the UK to build back better and ensure we meet our clear commitments on tackling climate change.”
Executive chair of Innovate UK, Dr Ian Campbell, added: “Yet again we see the exciting range of business innovation taking place across the United Kingdom, despite these difficult times.
“Every initiative we’ve supported here represents an important step forward in sustainable economic development, but also one step nearer dreams becoming reality for ambitious hard-working company owners and their staff.”